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Image: "We Must Befriend The Ice Queen" by Pugs & Crows (YouTube)

Festival favourites Joey Calderazzo and Pugs & Crows headline Winter Jazzfest—until 02.09.19

By Greggory Clark on February 1, 2019

This year’s programming features a variety of Canadian and international artists such as the Joey Calderazzo Trio, Kevin Breit’s Bona Fide Scoundrels, and Juno Award winning art-jazz-folk instrumentalists Pugs & Crows.

Representing Ottawa is the Megan Jerome Together Ensemble, a band she put together with some of the region’s best players: Mike Essoudry on drums, Don Cummings on organ, and Fred Guignon on guitar.

There’s a late-night jam hosted by John Geggie (bass), Roddy Elias (guitar) and Michel Delage (drums) on Thursday and Friday nights only. Local and touring jazz musicians alike will take turns sitting in with the house band. The jam starts at 11pm, after the last show. There’s bar service and a pretty nice vibe in the lounge at La Nouvelle Scène.

Another house band, The 33z, will take up their tradition of performing a tribute concert at Winter Jazzfest. Past years included sellout Prince and Michael Jackson shows. This year, the band will bring together talented vocalists Kellylee Evans, Rebecca Noelle, Jeff Rogers and Deedee Butters, to name a few, to celebrate the music of Aretha Franklin. Each singer will interpret a song from Aretha’s repertoire and in the backing band are local jazz stalwarts Clayton Connell (keys), Michel Medrano (drums), JP Lapensée (bass), Alex Moxon (guitar), Ed Lister (trumpet) and Petr Cancura (sax). Lister and Cancura pen the arrangements.

New this year, there’s an artists-in-residence program which aims to foster collaboration between touring artists at the festival. Marianne Trudel (piano), Kevin Breit (guitar) and Michael Blake (sax) are bringing their own bands to Winter Jazzfest, but will also collaborate to put on four additional concerts which their unique creative strengths in different combinations.

The lineup:

Thursday, Feb. 7

  • Nellie McKay, 6:30pm
  • RJ Leblanc, 7:30pm
  • Marianne Trudel Trio + Tony Malaby, 8:30pm
  • Artist-in-Residence Collab #1, 10pm
  • Jam Session, 11pm

Friday, Feb. 8

  • The 33z play Aretha Franklin, 6pm
  • Artist-in-Residence Collab #2, 7:30pm
  • Kevin Breit’s Bona Fide Scoundrels, 9pm
  • Pugs & Crows, 10pm
  • Jam Session, 11pm

Saturday, Feb. 9

  • Artist-in-Residence Collab #3, 5pm
  • Michael Blake Trio, 6:30pm
  • Megan Jerome Together Ensemble, 8pm
  • Joey Calderazzo Trio, 9pm
  • Artist-in-Residence Collab #4, 10:30pm


The 8th annual Winter Jazzfest is at La Nouvelle Scène (333 King Edward Ave) from February 7–9, 2019. Tickets cost $25–75 online. Visit ottawajazzfestival.ca for the full lineup and schedule.